Today's "how-to" is about Oatmeal, that heart-healthy whole-grain cereal that you probably don't cook because you think it takes too long to prepare. Instead you buy the instant or the microwave variety.
We prefer the texture of the Old Fashioned cereal, the kind that takes 5 minutes to cook. Five minutes is only a short time. Really!
For a long time I've cooked a few raisins into the oatmeal to sweeten it. But lately I've taken to adding fruit. First peaches. Now I'm using apples.
For two or three people: Bring 1-1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add one peeled and sliced apple, a Tablespoon of coconut flakes, a few raisins, and a pinch of salt. Stir and let simmer for half a minute or so, just to get the apple cooking a bit. Then add 3/4 cup of Old Fashioned Oats. (The basic recipe is two parts water to one part oatmeal...cook more as needed.)
At this point I turn off the burner, put the lid on the pan, and let the residual heat of the stove finish the cooking...which takes about five minutes. Make sure the heat does not cause the cereal to boil over...otherwise you can just set the timer for five minutes and putter around the house in your jammies until the timer lets you know your breakfast is ready.
Cooking oatmeal is really so easy. Add your preferred fruits, dates, other dried fruits, raisins, slivered almonds, whatever you want to toss in the pan. A touch of cinnamon is great with the fruit.
Did you notice the pan I'm using? I've recently discovered that Corelle glass pans work very well on this flat surface stovetop. The Corelle heats more quickly than metal pans and I can see what's cooking. Thanks to yard sales this summer, I've acquired a set of four with three lids.
Here's an important hint with oatmeal. Never let the residue oatmeal dry in the pan! You'll be Sorry! As soon as the pan is empty, fill it with cool water. (With the glass pan I let it cool down a bit before adding cool water). The cold water dissolves the starchy residue and it's a breeze to swish the pan clean with a clean dish cloth.
I'll bet Obama and McCain both eat oatmeal for breakfast. Let's take a vote on it!!! And did you know that Starbucks is now serving oatmeal?